In Memoriam

This site is also dedicated to Stan Sargent. Stan and I grew up in Grenada, Mississippi, and both of us left for college at about the same time. Stan served in Vietnam while I joined the Peace Corps. Stan won the Silver Star for heroism. Read Stan's story (1 MB download pdf).

Monday, September 13, 2010

Sebastian Junger: On Combat New and Old

Reading an article in the November 2010 edition of Military History magazine on Sebastian Junger and his book, "War."  Junger covered the 15 month deployment of US Army's 2nd platoon, Company B, 2n Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment in Afghanistan's Korengal Valley during 2007 - 2008. 

When he was asked about the psychological effects of being in a war zone, Junger said: "People see combat through a paradigm of trauma.  But there are also pyschologically  positive things that happen withtin a small group that can not be duplicated back home.  That's another way to look at PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) and it's serious.  I think it's as serious as the trauma component.  That's why they (soldiers) want to go back.  They didn't go back because it was traumatic, but because it was a place where they understood what they were supposed to do.  They understood who they were.  They had a sense of purpose.  They were necessary."

Trying to figure out why I want to go back to Iraq, Junger's statement seemed to answer the question.  I'm not sure where I could contribute more than I could there.  I understand what I need to do and I believe our collective efforts are making a difference.  At a certain age you start to worry about your relevance.  A place like Iraq takes those worries away.

1 comment:

  1. Mike, Junger's and your comments are really relevant for me right now. Frankly, I'm not doing much and very bored. I never told you, but I was in the Army 1966-70, including 15 month tour in RVN, where I picked up some metal which is still coming out many years later (my last operation was about a year ago). I remember coming back and going to school at UC Berkeley, being proud of my service and kind of expecting to have defend the war, my part in it, etc. The most disconcerting thing to contrary, though, was that no one had the slightest interest in the whole affair; it was as if the war didn't exist. I suspect that many young men coming back today (and assuming they're leaving the military service) confront the same sort of dislocation/disorientation issues upon leaving their units and operations areas.. Take care, Mike, L